This week in the world: February 19, 2015

Denmark man attacks café and synagogue with gunfire in Copenhagen

Police shot and killed a 22-year-old native of Denmark, a suspected party responsible for killing a man at a café and another at a synagogue on Feb. 14 in Copenhagen. The suspect first attacked the café on Feb. 14 where a Swedish cartoonist was speaking, and killed a 55-year-old film director named Finn Norgaard in the gunfire. In the early hours of Feb. 15, a 37-year-old man identified by Denmark’s chief rabbi as Dan Uzan was killed outside the synagogue while guarding the building during a bat mitzvah. Five police officers were wounded when the suspect returned to an address which police were surveilling in the Norrebro neighbourhood on Feb. 15. The police confirmed they shot and killed the suspect during the exchange.

Drones used in search for ancient civilizations in the Amazonian rainforests

New discoveries of geoglyphs in the Amazon rainforests have renewed the belief that major ancient civilizations may have existed in the Amazon rainforests. Formerly, scientists believed soil and ecological conditions were too poor for anything larger than a small group of settlers or farmers to exist in the area, but new evidence from the drones seems to suggest the contrary. Over 450 geoglyphs have been discovered since 2010, demonstrating sophisticated shapes and patterns found over a 250-kilometer expanse. Geoglyphs are huge geometric patterns carved into the deforested landscape, often seen only from a high vantage point. The drones project was announced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced a British-led team equipped with a $1.9 million USD grant from the European Research Council would lead the project.

New HIV/AIDS treatment processes pioneered in B.C.

Vivian Dias Lima, a senior statistician at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and a team of other scientists have published their recent findings of a new “treatment as prevention” strategy to combat the severity and spread of HIV/AIDS. The treatment attempts to diagnose HIV/AIDS early with near-universal testing, and then treats it with a cocktail of antiretrovirals, suppressing the virus to a point of being nearly undetectable. In turn, this strategy helps to reduce the likelihood of spreading HIV/AIDS from partner-to-partner and can improve the quality of life of those afflicted by the deteriorating virus in reducing HIV-related symptoms. This practice has helped reduce the number of new HIV-AIDS cases and AIDS-related deaths in BC, with only 84 new cases diagnosed in the province in 2013 compared to 253 in 1997, as well as 44 deaths compared to 241 in the same period 16 years earlier.

Former president of Chad sentenced to trial for war crimes in Central Africa

Hissène Habré will soon stand trial in Senegal on charges that include crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture, according to the special tribunal set up to handle his court case. Habré ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, after which he was forced from power by the current president, Idriss Déby, and lived freely in Senegal until officials detained him in 2013. Déby formed a Chadian truth commission in 1992 which found Habré’s government responsible for an estimated 40,000 deaths within the country and elsewhere. The trial is expected to begin in May or June and will be the first in Africa to rely on “universal jurisdiction,” under which any country’s national courts can prosecute the accused by his or her crimes committed elsewhere by a foreigner and against foreign victims.

 Greenpeace India activist denied travel to Britain, told visit was “prejudicial to national interest”

Priya Pillai, a Greenpeace India activist who was to brief members of Parliament in Britain on the effects of mining on indigenous communities of India, was stopped by immigration control in New Delhi on Jan. 11 and barred from travelling. The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs cited that Pillai’s trip was “prejudicial to national interest,” leaving some to speculate that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is targeting NGOs to silence dissent. Shortly after the incident, Pillai filed a court petition against the Ministry of Home Affairs, asking for her right to travel to be reinstated, as well as compensation for mental trauma and harassment. The latest hearing on the petition in court.took place on Feb. 18.

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